Preparing for birth can be a daunting experience, especially for first-time moms. But taking control of those last few months and incorporating some simple changes into your daily routine can help you feel confident for the big day. One of the most important parts of birth preparation is helping the baby position itself. After all, one of the main reasons that birth can stall and require interventions is an awkward fetal position, preventing the baby from moving down the birth canal with ease. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles mean that we’re not as active as we used to be and have much longer periods of sitting down, which often results in a stuck baby.
Here are some ideas to try out in the third trimester to help assist the baby get into the optimal position, facing your back (anterior as opposed to posterior), with its head down.
Sit right! Pregnancy is tiring, and many Moms-to-be might find themselves leaning back on the sofa at the end of a long day. This might be relaxing, but reclining encourages the awkward positioning of the baby. Instead, try sitting upright with a cushion under your sit-bones. This will tip the pelvis slightly forward, helping the baby to move head down.
Similarly, if you are spending a lot of time sitting in an office chair, also put a cushion under you sit-bones, or better still, switch out the chair for an exercise ball. Adjust yourself on the ball so that your hips are higher than your knees. This will encourage the anterior position of the baby. You can also sway your pelvis in a gentle circle, to alleviate lower backache.
Squat! This is a great way to open the pelvis and allow space for the baby to move. Going to the toilet is ideal for this! To help, grab a stool to prop your feet up on, or invest in a Squatty Potty or similar, which will comfortably raise your knees into the squat position.
If your baby does end up breech, don’t worry! Your care provider might suggest an external cephalic version (ECV) if the baby hasn’t turned by 37 weeks. It’s worth a try, but is often painful for both Mom and baby, and success rates are low. There are many extra techniques that you can incorporate into your daily life, even in the last weeks of pregnancy, that can encourage a breech baby to turn. Walk when you can, and if there’s a choice, opt for the stairs over the elevator. A gentle hip sway whilst walking or climbing will also encourage the baby’s head to move down.
Spinning Babies is a series of daily techniques developed by a midwife Gail Tully, which are especially helpful for flipping babies. The site also offers useful tips on how to tell what position your baby is in.
Of course, consult your doctor or midwife before trying any of the above techniques, and stay safe mamas!